"Holy Motors" at the European Union Film Festival [fr]

2012 European Union Film Festival

French film screening this year

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Holy Motors

Cannes Film Festival 2012
Cannes Prix de la jeunesse 2012
Directed by Léos Carax

With Denis Lavant, Edith Scob, Eva Mendes, Kylie Minogue, Elise Lhomeau, Jeanne Disson, Michel Piccoli

Synopsis : A few hours, from dusk to dawn, in the existence of Monsieur Oscar, a being who travels from life to another. He is a captain of industry, a murderer, a beggar, a monstrous creature, and a family man, one after the other… Monsieur Oscar seems to play roles, throwing himself into each one—but where are the cameras? He is alone, except for Céline, the slender blonde woman at the wheel of the immense machine that shuttles him through and around Paris. He is like a meticulous assassin moving from one target to another, in pursuit of the beauty of the act, the driving force, the women and phantoms of his life. But where is his home, his family, his rest?

This film was screened as part of the 27th European Union Film Festival, which runs in Ottawa until December 2nd, 2012.

Speech by Thomas Michelon, Cultural counsellor


Ladies and gentleman, it’s a great pleasure to welcome you all to this screening, which is taking place as part of the European Union Film Festival.

Erika Denis, our audiovisual attachée, has chosen a very singular film as this year’s French contribution: Holy Motors, which is Leos Carax’s most recent film.

What do we know about Leos Carax? Carax made several short films and also wrote for Cahiers du Cinema for a short time. At the age of 24, he made a very strong first feature, Boy Meets Girl, which has since become a cult movie. The film played at the Cannes Film Festival (1984) and was a critical triumph. Carax’s second feature Mauvais Sang (1986) was a giant step forward in the same direction he was taking with his first film. Both were visually stunning and focused on love and alienation, but in a very romantic way. With his reputation at his peak, Carax set out to make what it seemed would be another triumph. Les amants du Pont-Neuf (1991) (The Lovers on the Bridge) was released after three long years of very difficult production. Even if critics didn’t like this film, the audience loved what was a truly grand vision of the themes Carax had dealt with before. After this financial catastrophe, Carax went into an eight-year exile, but he eventually resurfaced with Pola X in 1999, another critical flop. Since then, we’ve seen nothing, or almost nothing, from Carax until this year’s Cannes Festival and Holy Motors.

Silencieux, ne donnant aucun entretien, apparaissant très rarement en public, Carax ne reviendra au grand public qu’avec le film que nous allons voir ce soir. On ne sait, en fait, que peu de choses du personnage lui-même. His father is a journalist, his mother a film critic for the International Herald Tribune—the same newspaper Jean Seberg is selling in Godard’s A bout de souffle. Ce n’est pas un hasard si je cite ici Godard: de ce cinéaste, Carax retient que le cinéma permet d’accéder à toute la réalité du monde. Il complètera cette filiation cinématographique d’autres grandes références: Chaplin, Vigo, Carne ou Franju hantent certainement les films de Leos Carax, leur conférant une dimension magique et hors norme. Le style de Carax est anachronique dans son ambition, follement moderne dans son propos.

Qu’a-t-on dit de Leos Carax: qu’il est un poète maudit, un écorché vif, une figure romantique insensée dont la production se limitera à cinq films en trente ans. Je ne sais ce qui ressort du mythe et de la vérité, mais je suis très intrigué de voir ce qu’un réalisateur peut vouloir nous dire au terme d’une éclipse de treize ans -éclipse dont je ne vois, à titre de comparaison, que celles de Francis Ford Coppola ou de Terrence Malick il y a plus de trente ans. Au travers de Holy motors, film qualifié hâtivement d’OVNI, nous retrouvons un acteur, Denis Lavant, à la fois double de Carax et figure de l’incarnation d’un être faisant face à un monde toujours plus virtuel et déréalisé, dans lequel la relation à l’autre prend, toujours, des chemins détournés. Carax citait Kafka au moment de la sortie de son film: «Il y a dans mon appartement une porte que je n’avais jamais remarquée jusque-là»: il y a peut-être dans cette phrase l’une des clés de la vision d’un réalisateur qui n’a jamais abdiqué ni rien lâché de son désir, ni de sa foi magique envers le cinéma.

Je vous souhaite une excellente soirée.

Dernière modification : 21/11/2012

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